WINEormous wine tastingIt had been nearly four months since our group of wine tasting friends had assembled. Caution with fears of the pandemic caused us to put our get-togethers on hold. This week, we decided to test the waters. Ken and Taryn graciously invited us to their home to safely return to one of our passions.

With fried chicken, pizza, goat cheese stuffed dates, potato salad, and more goodies beckoning in the kitchen, we sat outside and plunged into our first wine, Lucas and Lewellen’s 2018 Sauvignon Blanc. Deb called it light-bodied with notes of lemongrass and stone fruit, with grapefruit and citrus on the nose. Ken said it was very refreshing and well-balanced. Chris liked the peach and apricot on the nose and the wine’s lively acidity. With a small amount of Viognier blended in, this wine was a hit with the group, it scored a solid four out of a possible five stars and it retails at $17.

Next we tasted Minuty 2018 Rosé et Or rosé from Provence. Minuty consistently produces outstanding rosé, and this is no exception. A blend of Grenache and Cinsault, I was struck by the lovely pale color. This delicate wine presents strawberry and cherry. Chris felt is was both overly acidic and overpriced at $42. Ken, however, called it smooth and very dry. Deb picked up anise and strawberry and said it had medium acidity. It scored three and a half stars.

Our tasting featured several wines from Lucas and Lewellen, including their 2016 High 9 Pinot Noir. Most of us spent minutes smelling it before we tasted it. Ken loved the cherry cola nose and said it was delicious. Deb found rhubarb, cherry, and baking spices and called it well-balanced with a lush mouthfeel. Ken remarked it was pleasantly dry with a long, satisfying finish. At $34, it scored better than four stars.

We traveled south to Chile’s Colchagua Valley for the 2018 Pincoya Red Blend. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Carménère combine in a wine that Deb said had notes of blue and dark red fruits but offered little structure. Ken noticed bell pepper along with dark cherry and berry and called it a good value at $19. It scored nearly four stars.

We concluded the tasting with two more wines from Lucas and Lewellen. The 2018 “Hidden Asset” is a blend of Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Franc. Chris found it jammy with notes of vanilla, tobacco, and dark chocolate. Helen called it smooth, silky, and jammy. Randy said it was an excellent blend with dark chocolate on the finish. Deb said it was a “treasure trove” with hints of cocoa, dark cherry cola and blackberry cobbler. At $34, it garnered better than four stars.

Finally, we tasted Lucas and Lewellen’s 2016 “Cote de Sol” Cabernet Sauvignon. “Scrumptious!” said Deb. Ken called it very balanced and smooth. Helen said it was a “Fantastic Cab”, very smooth and she could drink it every day. I enjoyed the notes of cherry and vanilla and feel it could age quite well. It averaged four and a half stars with a couple of perfect five-star score. Expect to pay $38.